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Crews douse fire on Ensign Peak, more evacuations to be lifted in Alpine

By Shara Park and Andrew Adams  |  Posted Jul 5th, 2012 @ 8:03am


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SALT LAKE CITY — Fire crews in Salt Lake City battled a wildfire on Ensign Peak above the capitol early this morning. The steep terrain made it difficult for firefighters to even get to the flames.

In Alpine, more evacuations are set to be lifted as firefighters continue to work on the Quail Fire there.

On Ensign Peak, the only way crews could fight the fire was to hike to it carrying water.

The fire started in an area about a quarter mile east of Ensign Peak shortly before 1 a.m. The cause is unknown, but firefighters saw several people run from the area when they arrived on scene.

Three teams of firefighters forged their way up the hillside through brush and trees to get to the fire. When they finally reached it, flames covered a little less than an acre.

Battalion Chief Michael Andrew of the Salt Lake City Fire Department said, "(Firefighters) were able to take backpacks of water with them. Each one of those packs carried about three gallons of water, and they used hand tools."

After several trips to get water, crews contained the fire in about an hour. They say the lack of wind helped their efforts.

A couple of firefighters remain at the scene this morning mopping up hot spots and making sure the fire doesn't flare. Investigators will work with police later this morning to figure out how the fire started.

When firefighters arrived on scene they saw about 30 people running out of the hills near Ensign Peak, so there is a good possibility that this fire was human caused. But, they won't know for sure until investigators take a look at it later this morning.

Quail Fire

The Quail Fire in Alpine is now 10 percent contained. An evacuation order for about 40 homes in Alpine Cove is set to be lifted at 10 a.m. About 160 residents will be allowed home.

So far the fire has burned nearly 3,000 acres, and 325 homes remain evacuated.

Twelve fire engines remain in neighborhoods protecting homes in case the winds shift. The fire is mostly burning in Willow Canyon.

A Type 2 fire crew is expected to take over this morning with a focus on the north end of the fire. They hope to secure the south end later today. American Fork Canyon remains closed for today.

Shingle Fire

In Kane County, firefighters are still trying to get the Shingle Fire under control. The blaze has burned a cabin to the ground. It is about 10 percent contained and has blackened 8,200 acres. It started three days ago from a spark from an ATV.

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